The Friday lunchtime event in his State House outer office was advertised as a budget signing, but Gov. Chris Christie clearly had a few things he wanted to get out before his campaign launch next week to run for president.
His veto of any new taxes would be sound bite No. 1, along with a tax cut for New Jersey’s working poor. But there was also Cami Anderson’s departure as superintendent of Newark, along with the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage.
In the end, Christie went for close to an hour in his first press conference in weeks, leaving few topics untouched — except for the obvious one.
Cami Anderson’s departure: “I think Cami did a really extraordinary job under very difficult circumstances. I think some of the progress you have seen in that district will yield benefits for us going forward. Her interaction with Mark Zuckerberg’s group has been exemplary, and will help going forward.
But there is still more work to do. It was time for Cami to move on. Four years of full-scale combat in Newark is a lot for anybody, and … I will always be grateful to her for her service… I don’t she’s had a bigger supporter than me over the last four years, but four years is a lot of work down there and a lot of tough stuff she had to put with.”
Veto of the millionaire’s tax and expansion of earned-income tax credit: “I have been saying all along for six years that I wanted to cut taxes for the people of New Jersey. The Legislature has been unwilling at turn after turn to cut taxes for New Jersey, so my veto of the millionaire’s tax is a conditional veto, and the conditional veto is sending back to the Legislature for their concurrence I hope, an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit from 20 percent to 30 percent — a 50 percent tax cut for the working families of New Jersey. This is something that those families need now more than ever. They need more money in their own pocket and less in the pockets of politicians for them to spend on their special-interest friends here in Trenton.”
Gay marriage ruling: “Well, listen, I agree with Chief Justice Roberts. As you know, that this is something that should be decided by the people and not by, I think he called them, five lawyers. … I think this is something that should be decided by the people of each state and not imposed upon them by a group of lawyers sitting in black robes at the U.S Supreme Court. That being said, those five lawyers get to impose it under our system, and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land. And that under the Supreme Court’s ruling is now the law of the land. But I don’t agree with the way it’s been done.”
Affordable Care Act ruling: “I am not glad about it, and I wish the Supreme Court would have read the plain language of the statute, which says subsidies are not available unless it is an exchange established by the state. As much as I admire Chief Justice’s dissent today [in gay marriage], I am critical of his majority opinion yesterday [on the Affordable Care Act] where it was mental gymnastics to get to a result. That’s when courts lose their credibility.”
His political plans: “We’re not answering any questions about my political future today. I’m here as governor to talk about state business, and there will be plenty of time to talk about my political future next week.”